Legendary F1 design wizard Gordon Murray and saintly British philanthropist Sir Torquil Norman have teamed up to build the GVT OX, a revolutionary, low-cost, flat-pack truck to aid the developing world. It’s rugged, simple to maintain and repair, and can be assembled by three trained people in just twelve hours. It can traverse rough and rutted dirt roads with ease and can transport thirteen people. And if it gets funded and built en masse, it could drastically improve life and work for people living in rural areas of developing nations. But we’ll let those goody two-shoes (two shoeses?) worry about the underprivileged. The OX would be great for us selfish, pompous first-worlders, too! Here’s why.
Oh man, do we love to build things without needing to be technicians. Everyone wants to make something, but no one wants to map it out in Solidworks and 3D-print the parts. That’s why we pay exorbitant prices for Lego kits. It makes us feel like experts. The OX is a perfect way to scratch that itch. Other than a little welding, the truck bolts and rivets together out of the box, so you can tell people you built it in a weekend. The OX team says this is to help provide jobs for locals and cut down on shipping costs, which it surely would, but it also lets you build one in your garage!
And don’t worry about legality. The OX is the ultimate definition of a kit car, since you build it yourself, and most states allow kit car registration, as long as yours has the proper lights, which the OX includes.
You know your neighbors track you trips to IKEA, right? They’re judging you right now based on how many times a month you head to that blue and gold box of Swedish pressboard, and that’s important. Well, the OX comes in a flat pack, too. The whole truck, sans engine and transmission, fits in a box just under 30″ tall, so about 6 of them fit floor to ceiling in a shipping container. This is great for the developing world because it cuts down on wasted space in shipping, and therefore cost, and could even cost less in tariffs. It’s great for you because it’s the ultimate kitsch trump card to all
those heavy boxes your neighbor brought home from the Meatball Store.
The OX’s cabin seats three people, with the driver in the center. The McLaren F1 supercar seats three people, with the driver in the center. Both were designed by Gordon Murray. The OX people say this makes the truck equally legal and accessible in countries with left hand drive and right hand drive, and that it improves visibility and cuts down on parts and complexity. But we know what you’re up to, Murray. You’re trying to bring back the F1, and we’re happy to help.
Murray had the brilliant idea of making the OX front-wheel-drive. This vastly cuts down on weight and complexity, and allows each wheel to move independently with ease, improving ground clearance. The cab-over design puts more than 70% of the truck’s unladen weight over the front wheels, and when carrying a full load, the clever trailing arm suspension setup puts the weight at an even 50/50. Each wheel sticks to the ground independently, and the OX has been tested to work just as well in muddy and rocky conditions as its 4WD counterparts. It can also wade safely through a meter of water, which sounds like a great way to cool off. This will all be lovely for the people in sub-Saharan Africa, but what about you in suburban America?
You could start a new trend. All those expensive Jeeps with their center diffs and their fancy-pants drive shafts? You could show them up at Moab with your OX, all in front-wheel-drive. And let’s not forget the most important aspect of off-roading: accessorizing. The OX has an optional roof rack with plenty of space to rig up some lights, and I’m sure a winch isn’t out of the question, either. Heck, how long will it be before someone builds an e-diff kit for the rear wheels, with a simple electric motor to power them as needed?
Murray and co. designed the OX to fit a ubiquitous Ford 2.2 liter diesel engine and a cable-clutched 5-speed. Well, ubiquitous everywhere but America, but that’s beside the point. It offers 100 hp and 283 lb-ft of torque, which should be plenty to move the truck’s relatively light 3,500 lb weight at a decent pace. But you know what else is great about diesels? They’re easy to tune for more power. Plus, the team hopes to one day have electric or hydrogen-powered OXes (OXen?), so engine swaps should be easy. If you leave the diesel in, it’s the perfect way to test your doomsday prepper veggie oil system.
Forget those rooftop tents. You can build a whole house on the back of your OX. It has a payload of nearly 4,200 lbs, so weight won’t be an issue, either for a giant tank full of clean drinking water for your village or a granite-trimmed mobile home so you can camp in comfort. If you don’t want a camper, you can use the OX’s optional rear canopy, which can easily transform into an emergency shelter. (The tailgate also doubles as a ramp for wheelchairs, dollies, or stretchers.)
Who wants to go to the developing world and build charity houses when you can go and build charity trucks? It’s therapeutic, right? Imagine flying to Africa, using your mechanical skills to train some locals to weld and rivet for a week, then flying home. You can clear that polluted well you call a conscience for at least a month or two. Or picture this: Arrive at a shipping hub in Africa, buy an OX, build it, and race against other teams to deliver it to a village. Your social media followers will be so impressed!
And building anything this simple and straightforward will be relaxing and fun. Over-the-counter off-roaders have become so horrifically complex. Extensively modifying one seems to take an engineering degree. But something made of square tubing and composites, with a simple, FWD power unit? So refreshing.
GTV is currently looking for financial backers to start mass production, so if you know any billionaire gearheads who want to help
millions of people in the developing world you look cool romping around in a field, share away.
(In case it didn’t come through, no, I wasn’t serious about putting our own needs above those of people in developing nations, and while it would be very cool to get access to the OX here in America, it would be put to much better use bussing kids to school in Africa, delivering medicine in India, and so-on. So share this around and drum up some support for the OX! Also, I had to write this disclosure first so I didn’t feel bad while writing the rest of the article, which, by the way, originally appeared on StreetsideAuto.com.)